Tesco credits strong brand engagement as Christmas campaign helps boost sales

Tesco saw UK sales rise 2.2% in the Christmas period, its best festive results in nearly a decade, as its “more connected” marketing campaigns helped boost quality and value perceptions and its NPS.


Tesco was one of the best performing retailers over the Christmas sales period as its marketing focus on brand engagement and understanding customers helped drive brand metrics and boost sales.

Over the six weeks of Christmas, up to 5 January, Tesco UK and Ireland saw sales rise 2.6%, while at its core UK retail business they were up 2.2%. That marks Tesco’s fourth consecutive quarter of Christmas growth and its best performance in almost a decade as food, clothing and general merchandise sales all increased.

For the 19 weeks to 5 January, like-for-like sales were up 1.9% in the UK and Ireland, with its core UK retail business seeing growth of 0.7% and Tesco claiming it outperformed the market in both volume and value terms.

In particular, Tesco saw both quality and value perceptions rising significantly year on year, up 3.5 and 4.5 points respectively. And CEO Dave Lewis told Marketing Week on a press call this morning (10 January) that its net promoter score (NPS) saw the strongest improvement in five years.

Lewis claimed the Christmas campaign, ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ from creative agency BBH, had “worked very well” particularly on brand engagement, which he described as a very important metric. That helped to drive up value and quality perceptions and NPS as Tesco took the view that “more connected and insightful” campaigns talking about the brand and how people relate to food had more of an impact on sales than pushing particular product lines, although it ran promotional ads alongside the brand campaign.

“People appreciated the idea of everyone being welcomed and being recognised as individuals. The business is built on the idea that everything little does help and that is what we are trying to do,” explained Lewis.

That focus on customers will pull through into 2019, a year when Tesco celebrates its centenary. It has already kicked off communication about the milestone with advertising focused on value and price and Lewis said to expect more of that this year.

“The centenary is all about 100 years of great value. We have a number of ideas of how to do that. It is a very important milestone. This is a brilliant British business that has been built up by focusing on customers and that is what we are getting back to,” said Lewis.